October 16, 2014
Posted in: Industry News

Chipotle weighs in on Colorado GMO labeling debate

Chipotle has endorsed Proposition 105 regarding GMOs in Colorado.

Students currently enrolled in Colorado cooking schools are likely not strangers to the current debate surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A type of bioengineering technology used in the production of enhanced food products, genetic modification has become increasingly common as agriculturalists work to meet the rising demand for produce. Interestingly enough, one of the most popular Denver-based restaurant chains of all time, Chipotle Mexican Grill, has come out in favor of proposition 105, according to The Denver Post. Were proposition 105 to pass when it’s voted on this autumn, labels disclosing the presence of GMOs would be mandated in foods that contain them. Take a look at a few of the ways that proposition 105, as well as Chipotle’s endorsement of it, could affect consumers in Colorado moving forward:

Proposition 105
As we’ve already stated, Proposition 105 would require explicit labels for any food product that was made with GMOs or contains ingredients produced with GMOs. While supporters of the bill argue that consumers have a right to know exactly what they’re putting into their bodies and onto their family’s tables, those against the measure have stated that the bill is poorly written and overblown. Specifically, dissenters of the proposition have based their arguments on the notion that the consumer would inherit a great deal of cost in annual grocery spending if the measure were to pass, though this claim has been widely disputed.

Chipotle endorsement
The move by Mexican food giant Chipotle to endorse proposition 105 is largely an unsurprising one. Last year, according to the Denver Post, the restaurant chain began noting any genetically modified ingredients on their online menus. Steve Ells, the chairman and co-CEO of the restaurant group, summated the establishments views on the issue in a public statement:

“Fundamentally, we believe that people have a right to know what’s in the food they eat. Consumers want this information, and we are already giving it to them,” Ells said. “But well-funded opposition groups continue to fight labeling efforts, with opponents putting their own profits ahead of consumer preferences.”

The bottom line
No matter where your personal opinions fall on the issue, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that money plays a large role in these sorts of initiatives. According to Food Safety News, those opposing Proposition 105 have raised nearly $9.7 million already to support their end of the cause, as compared with $320,696 by those supporting labeling initiatives. Perhaps even more telling is the amount of each of those respective budgets that can still be spent in the three weeks leading up to the election. Those against the labeling of GMOs still hold nearly $4.5 million in pocket, while those for proposition 105 have roughly $82,000. It will certainly be interesting to see what efforts are put forth by both sides to raise awareness of their causes as the final weeks prior to the election unfold. Either way, the stage is set for a heated vote.